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Oath of the Outcast

(The Dragon Keep Chronicles #1)

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  33 reviews
A lost brother.
An unwilling outlaw.
A rising enemy.
An unusual alliance.

Years ago, Rhys MacDuffy was brutally cut off from his clan, stripped of his name and inheritance, and banished to the remote Dragon Keep. Perched high above the Shang Pass in the land of Alsaya, he assumed the mantle of the Mountain Baron, serving out his sentence as the overseer of the worst outlaws an
Published July 23rd 2019 by Crosshair Press
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Average rating 4.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  49 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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I've loved every book I've read from C.M. Banschbach...which means that when I tell you this is my favorite of her works so far, I'm saying this book is something very special indeed. Up until now, her stories have ranged from more magic-heavy fantasy to stories which emphasize medieval action/adventure over supernatural elements. This book lies squarely in the middle of that spectrum. Supernatural overtones combine with swordplay to form a story that features the best of both subgenres. The wor ...more
H.S.J. Williams
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing

It's my new favorite word, made known to me by the author when she was describing this book.

Give me a book full of awesome guys over kickbutt girls ANY DAY. That's just how I like it. And aside from one character, this book basically is ALL men, with fabulous brotherhood both literal and otherwise.

The only content concern I'd mention is violence, there is a lot of emphasis on torture (like our hero spends half the book getting tortured, poor dude) buuuuut the scenes are well-balanced w
Tracey Dyck
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good old swordplay, a Celtic-inspired setting, and gruff clansmen make this a great story for fantasy adventure fans!

Rhys was a lovable protagonist with a tortured past, relatable fears, and a fiercely loyal streak that never gave up on the people who mattered most to him. I love that instead of becoming a total lone wolf in exile, he built up a brotherhood of other outcasts who would never leave each other behind. (Seriously, I love brother stories.)

And speaking of brothers—Sean! As a captured
Claire Banschbach
May 20, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Author's note - I give this book a PG-13 rating for intense situations, creepy bad guys, lots of man drama... There's also a fair amount of fake cursing, so...
Rachael Ritchey
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if it's that I never realized how rejected I've felt before or if Rhys "The Mountain Baron" MacDuffy is just a character I can empathize with on a deep level, but I loved this book. I certainly have felt like an outsider, if not a straight up outcast, so maybe there's a little truth to both statements.

Rhys MacDuffy is no longer. His name, family, home, and past life were all stripped from him the day he was accused of murder. Through deep pain, both physical and emotional, and all
Deborah O'Carroll
This is one of the best books I've read all year and you need it in your life--and now I need book 2 already! My love for this epic book runs so deep I don't know quite how to express it. *all the heart eyes*


I’m sitting here not sure how to form words to adequately express how much I love this absolutely awesome book. I just love it so, so much! OATH OF THE OUTCAST is, hands-down, one of the best books I’ve read all year. I have an addiction to this author’s books, and this the mos
Bryn Shutt
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books
Oath of the Outcast was one of my most anticipated reads for this month and I swallowed it down in two days flat.

Men. Oh yes, give me stories about the rugged, the brave and brooding. Banschbach did a superb job creating a varied, well-crafted cast of some of the most enjoyable gents this "gritty-guy stuff" lover has ever read. I would call this a story of contrasts and balances. The light in the darkness, the past with the present, hope against despair and all tied together with the bond of br
Abigayle Claire
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book
Really enjoyed the adventure, intrigue, broodiness, and camaraderie. It felt like Robin Hood meets Merlin ... (with a dash of Outlander). It's got some great characters, and I'm looking forward to seeing them again in the sequel!
Verity Buchanan
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how to describe what this book did to me.

My feelings are divided into two odd camps, and I'll attempt to express them both with due care.

To begin with, this book felt like an indulgence read, in the best and oddest imaginable way. For the past nine years, my closest sister and I have squandered our free time by telling collaborative, entirely impromptu stories (I'm going somewhere with this, I promise). These stories, told aloud, on the fly, incorporated a fairly standard cast of ch
Bethany Kellam
I really don't know what to say.

This book made me isolate myself from my family for about two days. It was difficult, since I'm on vacation at the moment, but I did it. It was worth it.

I can't remember the last time a book had me hooked within the first few chapters. Also this book has Scottish ties and as someone who's fascinated by that culture, it was fun to read.

(Although, apparently in real life, Scots never had a specific plaid associated with each clan. I learned that while in Scotland.
M.H. Elrich
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. I will give this book a full review later, but for's awesome!
Michelle Bruhn
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the Scottish-inspired world-building, to the multi-layered characters, to the very real dangers said characters faced! I loved Sean's combination of strength and a soft heart, Alan's snark and divided loyalties, Jes' cool-headedness in the midst of the more hot-headed members of the Dragon Keep, and, of course, The Baron/Rhys himself with all his strength, determination, and badassery. And his well-deserved angst that made me want to give him a hug (I refrained, though—I'd ...more
Joseph Leskey
RTC, hopefully. Here's a summary review as a placeholder:

Read this thing. It's pretty fabulous.
Selina R Gonzalez
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid story with promising characters and lots of potential for the rest of the series.

As expected, Rhys was the kind of wounded, tragic, gruff exterior with a heart of gold character I like. Although, for all the to-do about how changed he was by the war, there was a time or two I was confused by how his seeming preference to incapacitate over kill. ("He's the hero, Selina you absolute walnut." What can I say, I'm a pragmatist and maybe slightly heartless. It's why everyone is thankful I'm a
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent story and characters. I'm not head-over-heels for it, but I would definitely reread it and will be looking forward to the next book. For some reason, I got a low-key sort of grown-up Ranger's Apprentice vibe from . . . something? Maybe the character dynamics? Maybe it's just that one of the characters uses a recurve bow and all of the characters are sarcastic and there's a predominance of male characters? IDK. I enjoyed it, though.
Beth Wangler
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brothers who love each other no matter what is my new favorite book relationship. I've been looking forward to reading Oath of the Outcast since before it came out, and it was wonderful. I am eager to read Blood of the Seer when it comes out!
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Holy wow, what a great story!!! I am Team Rhys all the way. The Baron’s love language is scowling and stabbing people all the while protecting everyone. “Never leave a man behind...” I might not have the exact quote but the gist is simple: we protect our own and we leave nobody behind, period. Which is my favorite thing of all time!! Plus he goes around basically adopting everyone. The best part are his men who would do the same for him, and ZOMG THAT ENDING!! Incoherent shrieking. W
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ahhhh!!! Why did it end like that?!
Longer review to come ;)
Brie Donning
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. I loved the characters, I wept inside for the pain.
But I'm also a little mad at it. I hoped the book would wrap up more than it did. I need to know how the story ends and this doesn't do that, at all. It just opens up more threads.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspired by Scottish and Welsh legend and folklore, Claire has succeeded in weaving a riveting fantasy filled with magic, betrayal, promises, brotherhood, and adventures beyond imagination. Characters with hidden pasts come to life, bringing with them their hurt and pain, wanting healing. Witty phrases lighten the mood, but who knows what Lord Adam Berkley has next up his sleeve for Rhys MacDuffy--or his brother and Seer, Sean. 

I personally loved Sean and Alan the moment they appeared on the sce
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was so good! This was my first book by this author and I will definitely be coming back for the sequel. (E.g. I will be buying it as soon as it comes out because..That cliffhanger! You can't leave me like that!) So much angst! So much manliness! Loved it! My only caveat was that the druids were so stinking creepy. Like almost crossed the line creepy. Voodoo dolls?! *shudder* Nevertheless I will be back for more!
E.B. Dawson
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are so many things to love about this book! The whole set up is so well done and the characters really shine. Banished for a crime he didn't commit, the Mountain Baron's sense of justice eventually gained the loyalty of all the outcasts and criminals who live in the mountains. He's bitter. He's been through a lot. He's had to cut himself off from his emotions in order to survive. He's a great character to explore.

Now he's forced to confront his past because the person he cares most about
Liz Koetsier
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
As a whole, I did really like this book, but I would let readers viewing these reviews and who are looking for something like the Faeries of Myrnius know that Oath is not similar to Faeries. It is quite a bit darker.
What I enjoyed the most were the character arcs, the wit, snark, dialogue sass, and sibling friendship. I did know it was going to be dark, but I didn't know in what way. Personally, I don't have a problem with some dark stories if there is a point, and a reason for it, with a redemp
Rae Graham
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Binged this action packed story in a day, pacing the whole time! Such a beautiful Scottish inspired story with so many of my favorite things: fierce loyalty, unyielding family ties, strong multilayered characters, a brooding hero with a dark past and heart of gold. Seriously can't wait for the sequel!

Once a warrior banished for a murder he didn't commit, Rhys is now the legendary Mountain Baron. For seven years he has roamed the mountains protecting the innocent, adopting the unfortunate, and st
V. Romas Burton
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anthony Cirilla
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rhys MacDuffy, even after seven years of banishment and memories of a cruel, unfair trial, can’t shake the ties between him and his brother Sean, his former Clan’s Seer. So when Sean is captured by the pretender Lord Adam, against his better judgment Rhys sets out to free his brother. He insists he’s the Mountain Baron, a hardened magnate overseeing his fellow outcasts – but he accepts the mission to save his “former” brother, doesn’t he?

Oath of the Outcast comes highly recommended, and I guaran
Kassi G
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the only books I've read this year that made me sad to put it down! Fell in love over and over with characters ranging from a kidnapped seer to the Baron - a Lord over outcasts who constantly flirts with death.
The only downside is that I have to wait a year for the second book 😭
I recommend this book to older teens and adults who are looking for adventure and philadelphia
Janeen Ippolito
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic story! Of course, I'm a HUGE sucker for a misfit protagonist, so Rhys MacDuffy/The Baron is right up my alley. But every part of this book just works super well, from the outlaws to the estranged family to the fight scenes. Highly recommended. I MUST have the next book!
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
really great story! great for anyone who loves a fast-paced medieval/fantasy! (which i do). interesting characters and thrilling story perfect for anyone!
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I love strong yet vulnerable men. Claire Banschbach is a very talented writer and story teller. This book had strong themes of brotherhood and friendship amidst extremely difficult circumstances. There was an amazing depth of character for each individual and vivid world building. I really enjoyed seeing from different perspectives throughout the book. The torture was tastefully written without going into the grotesque but enough to make you squeamish. There was good banter/humor throughout to b ...more
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C.M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent Hobbit if she weren’t so tall. She’s a pizza addict, a multi-faceted fangirl, and a firm believer in being authentic—even if it means acting like a dork sometimes! When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric physical therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually h ...more

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